Working with data as a designer
This is the longest agile project I've been working on. It has been an incredibly valuable learning experience for me. The biggest thing I learned was to work with data and use it as a design material. By that I mean starting by asking questions, and collaborating with researchers and developers to collect data, manipulate data, and distill insights. Participating in the research phase is very important for a vision to be formed. After that, as a designer, the journey just started. Although data can provide valuable insights, muddling through the design phase is inevitable.
Working with a diverse team, and leading design
Working with awesome teammates was also a memorable highlight of my grad school. We hang out a lot outside of work - going to gym, sharing recipes, having milk-shake Mondays, having dance break after long meetings, talking about different cultures, and more.
Taking care of teammates during design workshops is very important to have everyone actively contribute.
Balancing between user's needs and business value
Finding a sweet spot is always hard, however, locating the overlapping area between user and business value is a challenge every product designer has to face. My biggest takeaway was that I self-discovered my way, as a designer, to muddle through this process. I still put user's needs as a prioritization, then rank them. After that, scope down with business value. This method turned out well in this project.
Our team, with advisors and clients after final presentation